ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — They're getting ready to run the dogs in Anchorage.
By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's ban on discriminatory health insurance practices against the sick has not stopped insurers from increasing up-front charges for the expensive drugs needed to control chronic illnesses from leukemia to multiple sclerosis. Actuarial studies of plans sold through health insurance marketplaces in some states found that many make consumers responsible for as much as 50 percent of the price of specialty drugs, which can cost $8,000 or more a month. Long before the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, became law in 2010, insurers began replacing fixed-dollar co-payments for the drugs with co-insurance rates that require consumers to pay a percentage of the cost of specialty medicines. Therefore, any discussion of prescription drug coverage must also include a focus on the direct link between rising prescription drug prices and consumer cost sharing," said Clare Krusing, spokeswoman for America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade and lobbying group.
By Laila Kearney SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Francisco Bay-area high school officials did not violate the civil rights of five students by demanding they remove T-shirts bearing images of the U.S. flag at an event celebrating the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said school officials acted out of legitimate concerns of violence when they sent a handful of students home for refusing to change their American flag-embellished apparel. "The panel held (that) given the history of prior events at the school, including an altercation on campus, it was reasonable for school officials to proceed as though the threat of a potentially violent disturbance was real," Judge Margaret McKeown wrote in the unanimous opinion. Live Oak High School in the town of Morgan Hill, south of San Francisco, had been experiencing gang-related tensions and racially charged altercations between white and Hispanic students at the time.
By Laila Kearney SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Two Mexican nationals were indicted on Thursday on charges of running an outlaw weapons-supply shop in northern California that assembled and sold unmarked, illegal firearms and accessories, including machine-guns and silencers. A federal grand jury in Sacramento indicted brothers Luis Cortez-Garcia, 44, and Emiliano Cortez-Garcia, 37, on one count each of unlawful manufacturing and sales of firearms, conspiracy to unlawfully manufacture and sell firearms and multiple counts related to making and selling illegal assault rifles, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said in a statement. "The conduct alleged in this case involves the systematic evasion of federal firearms laws, for profit, in a manner that created a real threat to public safety," Wagner said. Additionally, both brothers were charged with being illegal immigrants in possession of firearms.
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping has put himself in charge of a new body to coordinate cybersecurity, in a sign of Beijing's concern over its vulnerability to online attacks and its desire to retain tight control over the Internet.
By Lawrence Hurley and Joan Biskupic WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For the first time, video footage of U.S. Supreme Court proceedings has been recorded and posted online. The Supreme Court has always barred any type of cameras, including news media, from recording proceedings. The video shows a protester, later identified by the court as Noah Kai Newkirk, 33, of Los Angeles, California, who disrupted an oral argument on Wednesday. The shaky, low-quality video, just over two minutes long, shows a brief disruption that occurred in the courtroom during an oral argument in a patent case.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog says it's not clear there is a shortage of airline pilots even though regional airlines have reported difficulty finding enough pilots to hire.
By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California's attorney general on Thursday waded into a court fight over the state's strict gun laws, asking an appeals court to reverse itself and restore the leeway local governments had to decide who can carry a concealed firearm. A three-member panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, acting on a lawsuit by gun owners, earlier this month struck down as unconstitutional a requirement by San Diego County that residents show "good cause" to carry a concealed firearm. In a 2-1 decision, the panel found that San Diego county's rules, coupled with a California state law that largely bans the open carrying of firearms in public, effectively barred residents from carrying a gun altogether, in violation of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Lawyers for both sides agreed that the panel's ruling, if upheld, would force cities and counties across California to issue permits to anyone who sought to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense and met the other requirements under state law.
By Edith Honan NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two people at the heart of a traffic scandal dogging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie joked weeks earlier about causing traffic problems in front of the home of a rabbi, documents released on Thursday show. Christie's former deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly and David Wildstein, an ally to the governor at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, lost their jobs over their involvement in the "Bridgegate" scandal last September that is threatening Christie's White House aspirations. Documents released by Wildstein to a state legislative committee probing the incident, in which lanes were shut near the busy George Washington Bridge, causing a huge traffic jam, reveal that on August 19 he and Kelly discussed another traffic scheme. "Flights to Tel Aviv all mysteriously delayed," Wildstein wrote in reply.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's attorney general on Thursday appealed a federal court decision that overturned San Diego County's concealed weapons restrictions.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The founder of a Bible-themed museum who recently debated evolution with TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye said Thursday that the widely watched event helped to boost enthusiasm among followers who invested in a project to build a 510-foot Noah's Ark.
By David Quinones MIAMI (Reuters) - After a 14-month manhunt in four countries, a Cuban man accused of a $2.8 million Miami gold heist is in custody in Belize and could be headed back to the United States to face charges, authorities and a private investigator said on Thursday. Raonel Valdez Valhuerdis was found last week hiding in bushes near the Guatemalan border outside the small Belize town of Benque Viejo, according to David Bolton, a private investigator contracted to find Valdez by the owner of the gold, Bolivian-based export company Quri Wasi. "Immigration (authorities) there apprehended him because of his passport, but he was acting suspicious, so they Googled his name," said Bolton. Upon finding Valdez's wanted poster online, the Belizean authorities contacted Bolton, who put them in touch with the U.S. Marshals Service.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal grand juries have indicted six current and former San Francisco police officers, charging three with stealing money, drugs, electronics and gift cards seized during investigations, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.
HONOLULU (AP) — A small plane crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff from Hawaii's Lanai island, killing three people and leaving three others injured, authorities said Thursday.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three Philippine nationals caught in a sting operation in their native country have been sentenced in Los Angeles for importing military-grade weapons to the United States.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration quietly issued a health law fix Thursday to help states that have had technical problems running their own enrollment websites. It could stir up critics but may help the law's supporters.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Video streaming company Hulu says it's selling its business in Japan to Nippon TV. A price wasn't disclosed.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles cemetery has agreed to an estimated $80.5 million settlement of a lawsuit that claimed it dumped human remains from hundreds of graves.
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Drivers in California can legally read a map on their hand-held cellphones while behind the wheel, a state appeals court ruled Thursday.
CHICAGO (AP) — Guards at one of the nation's largest jails systematically engage in "sadistic violence and brutality" against inmates, according to a federal class-action lawsuit filed on Thursday.